Topic >> announcements

Inside, Looking Out turns five!

announcements 1 Comment »

200 posts and 500 comments later, Inside Looking Out (ILO) turns 5 years old this week!

It’s been a long and bumpy ride, but I am glad most of my original readers are still hanging around… and am thankful for the new ones too.

Today I went back and re-visited the very first post on ILO, and much of it surprisingly still applies… so I am posting it again today.

Well, this has been a long time in coming. I’ve wanted to set up an online journal, or “blog” for some time. I am sure you are all understandably curious. I thought this was a good way to let everyone know what’s going on with me, because as you know it’s always about me. Plus, it gives me a place to blow off some steam, sometimes serious, sometimes not so much. It also provides a forum for the lively exchange of ideas. Oh. Who am I kidding? Most of y’all will simply drop by for the free links, as I often stumble across cool things on the web… and this is a great place to post them. 🙂 But what ever your reason for visiting, hopefully you’ll make it part of your routine. As I hope to make it part of mine.

Now, those of you visiting for the first time are doing so because your are on my notify list which sends you an email whenever I post to my “blog.” I promise not to fill up your email with idle and pedantic banter. But if you prefer not partake of my blog and all it has to offer, just let me know and I’ll remove you from the list to make room for someone else. 🙂

There are of course a few subtle differences (and some not so subtle) between then and now; today ILO is little less personal, and focuses a lot more on politics and gay issues. It also, I think, looks quite a bit nicer. But none of those changes would have been possible without the encouragement and the participation of those who frequently visit ILO, and to them my dearest thanks.

When I started ILO back in early 2004 I was in the midst of a long unemployment drought that lasted nearly a year. And now on the 5th anniversary of ILO, I look apprehensively toward the future as I am soon to be unemployed once more. During this break (which hopefully will be brief), I will of course be looking for new work, and hopefully, a new direction. I’ll also be spending a lot more time here.

So once again thanks… Thanks for making Inside, Looking Out, a part of your routine.

Lincoln, Darwin, Zoe and me…

announcements, general, religion 1 Comment »

February 12th has become a special day for me, but not necessarily for the reasons you might expect.

lincolnAbraham Lincoln, our 16th President was born 200 years ago today. He is perhaps the most remarkable of all of our leaders, presiding over a nation split by the wound of slavery. He was also a tremendous orator, his speeches succinct and written with a rhythm and cadence reminiscent of poetry.

Lincoln was also our first Republican president, helping found the party… but I don’t hold it against him. We need more Republicans in the vein of Lincoln… and Democrats too.

As a kid growing up in Chicago I knew very little about Lincoln, other than always getting the day off from school, which I thought was pretty cool. But lately my interest in Lincoln has grown, thanks in part to our new President, Barack Obama.

While the parallels between Lincoln and Obama have been well documented, the most striking for me is their gift for language, using it to inspire and show a way forward though the most difficult of times.

That is why I celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s birthday today.

Lincoln happens to be in very good company today. Another famous historical figure was also born on February 12th 1809: Charles Darwin, the man behind the theory of evolution.

darwinI’ve taken a keen interest in Darwin of late thanks to my growing disillusionment with organized religion. Though I have long considered myself agnostic, witnessing the hypocrisy, greed, and out-right hate over the last several months has fueled my latent atheism and distrust of all things religious. Its steady and relentless assault on science, placing mankind’s fate in the hands of some invisible omnipotent being instead of repeatable and observable evidence, has put us all at risk. Delays in stemcell research. The growing movement to the teach creationism and Intelligent Design in schools. The delay in our acknowledgment of and response to global warming. These are just a few of the symptoms.

So for me Darwin is a symbol of reason in this sea of mysticism and superstition that threatens to drown all us all. His theory of evolution survives despite being under constant assault. Only 39% of Americans believe in evolution, which to me is both astonishing and scary. But they do believe in a talking snake.

That is why I celebrate Charles Darwin’s birthday today.

zoeOur Zoe celebrates her birthday today too… Number four. So who is this Zoe? Well she’s our cat. Four of our years roughly translates to 32 in cat years. Wow. I had no idea she that old until just now. Wow.

A beautiful ragdoll with a diva complex, she has added so much balance and love to our lives. I remember her first day home, lying on the floor next to her until she felt safe enough to cuddle up next to me. And then we both fell asleep. Later I woke up with crook in my neck and Zoe on my belly, purring like a little steam train.

I don’t know if we will ever have children. But for now Zoe is enough. Any latent paternal instinct, and I mean LATENT, seems to be is satisfied. She has brought me and Chad closer together, as someone to care for often does.

That is why I celebrate Zoe’s birthday today.

And oh yeah, I almost forgot… it’s my birthday too… I’m 42. Ack!

Frankly the number 42 makes me a little nervous, as that’s how old my namesake (Elvis Presley) was when he kicked the bucket and shuffled off his mortal coil. I guess as long as I don’t keel over in the john, I should be fine 🙂

So now I am going to celebrate my birthday by taking a few days off… there maybe be a post or two, but it’s not likely. I wish all of you a safe and relaxing President’s day weekend.

HBO snubs Bishop Gene Robinson? Opening prayer not televised

announcements, humor, politics, religion 7 Comments »

robinsoninvocation-1Sadly, the invocation prayer by Bishop Gene Robinson was not aired on the HBO-only broadcast of today’s inaugural kickoff and concert. HBO instead cut into the proceedings after the invocation and a short break.

Update #1: It also appears that Robinson’s mic was off for the bulk of the prayer.

I am really surprised and disheartened at HBO’s lack of sensitivity, particularly in view of recent events like the passing of Proposition 8 and the choosing of Rick Warren to deliver the opening prayer of the inauguration. I know many were looking forward to Bishop Gene Robinson’s words, both religious and not. It added balance to the Warren pick, and also served as an example of the inclusiveness that Obama so often talks about.

Update #2: A video of Robinson’s prayer has fortunately surfaced on YouTube. It’s clear his mic was working (despite earlier reports). Perhaps there were issues with the speakers farther away from the stage. HBO also indicated via email this morning that the decision to exclude the prayer was made by the Presidential Inaugural Committee, and not HBO. Very, very unfortunate.

Update #3: The Obama camp responds: “We had always intended and planned for Rt. Rev. Robinson’s invocation to be included in the televised portion of yesterday’s program. We regret the error in executing this plan – but are gratified that hundreds of thousands of people who gathered on the mall heard his eloquent prayer for our nation that was a fitting start to our event.” — PIC communications director Josh Earnest

Update # 4 (final?): The entire program, including Bishop Gene Robinson’s invocation, will be shown on the jumbo screens on the Mall tomorrow to entertain the assembled crowd, according to a source for Is it too little too late? Or has the damage already been done?

A transcript of Robinson’s prayer below…

A Prayer for the Nation and Our Next President, Barack Obama

By The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire

“Welcome to Washington! The fun is about to begin, but first, please join me in pausing for a moment, to ask God’s blessing upon our nation and our next president.

O God of our many understandings, we pray that you will…

Bless us with tears – for a world in which over a billion people exist on less than a dollar a day, where young women from many lands are beaten and raped for wanting an education, and thousands die daily from malnutrition, malaria, and AIDS.

Bless us with anger – at discrimination, at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Bless us with discomfort – at the easy, simplistic “answers” we’ve preferred to hear from our politicians, instead of the truth, about ourselves and the world, which we need to face if we are going to rise to the challenges of the future.

Bless us with patience – and the knowledge that none of what ails us will be “fixed” anytime soon, and the understanding that our new president is a human being, not a messiah.

Bless us with humility – open to understanding that our own needs must always be balanced with those of the world.

Bless us with freedom from mere tolerance – replacing it with a genuine respect and warm embrace of our differences, and an understanding that in our diversity, we are stronger.

Bless us with compassion and generosity – remembering that every religion’s God judges us by the way we care for the most vulnerable in the human community, whether across town or across the world.

And God, we give you thanks for your child Barack, as he assumes the office of President of the United States.

Give him wisdom beyond his years, and inspire him with Lincoln’s reconciling leadership style, President Kennedy’s ability to enlist our best efforts, and Dr. King’s dream of a nation for ALL the people.

Give him a quiet heart, for our Ship of State needs a steady, calm captain in these times.

Give him stirring words, for we will need to be inspired and motivated to make the personal and common sacrifices necessary to facing the challenges ahead.

Make him color-blind, reminding him of his own words that under his leadership, there will be neither red nor blue states, but the United States.

Help him remember his own oppression as a minority, drawing on that experience of discrimination, that he might seek to change the lives of those who are still its victims.

Give him the strength to find family time and privacy, and help him remember that even though he is president, a father only gets one shot at his daughters’ childhoods.

And please, God, keep him safe. We know we ask too much of our presidents, and we’re asking FAR too much of this one. We know the risk he and his wife are taking for all of us, and we implore you, O good and great God, to keep him safe. Hold him in the palm of your hand – that he might do the work we have called him to do, that he might find joy in this impossible calling, and that in the end, he might lead us as a nation to a place of integrity, prosperity and peace.


While the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, D.C. did make an appearance (and they sounded wonderful), they were neither credited or included in the finale.

Contact HBO and let them know how you feel.

If any audio or video of the prayer becomes available, I will post it here.

Happy Holidays!

announcements 3 Comments »


As 2008 draws to a close, I look forward to putting this tumultuous year behind us. But it certainly had its moments. The one I will always remember the most is being surrounded by my family and friends as I slipped a ring on my partner’s finger and said I do.

I know for many it has been a tough year, but I am hopeful that the future will be better and brighter for all of us.

So to everyone I would like to wish a safe and happy holiday season, and much love to my family and friends, who make my life so much richer by simply being in it.

Lovely image by Masaki Hoshino.